Story: Pigs and the pork industry

Distribution of pig farms, 1949 and 2004 (1st of 2)

These two maps show the striking change in the location of New Zealand's pig farms between 1949 and 2004. In the 1940s pig farming was associated with dairy farming, since the pigs were fed on the skim milk and whey left over from making butter and cheese. Most pigs were found on dairy farms, so areas where dairy cows were found such as the Waikato, Northland, and the Manawatū also farmed most of the pigs. By 2004 milk processing had moved into huge factories and whole milk was being processed, with no waste products available for feeding to pigs. Specialised pig farms developed, and the pigs were increasingly fed grains. So pig farming moved south, especially to the grain-growing area of Canterbury.

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Source: New Zealand official yearbook, 1947–49 and 2004

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How to cite this page:

Allan Gillingham, 'Pigs and the pork industry - Pig farming', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 18 January 2022)

Story by Allan Gillingham, published 24 Nov 2008